Killing Floor 2 is a game that I did not expect to enjoy as much as I do. With almost 70 hours of game time, I still feel like there are new challenges to complete and strategies to try. I was already engaged by the selection of maps, weapons, and difficulty settings before the Spring Update was released (let alone the additional mods that can be added). After playing some of the new content from this update, I feel that the game still has much to offer new and veteran players alike.
This content update is a pretty big one-offering two new maps, a new endless game mode, a new playable character with voice lines and unlockable customization options, three new weapons, and bug fixes and added features. There is a lot to play and to discuss.
Let’s begin with the two new maps: Power Core and DieSector. Power Core is an official community made map and, no offense to the creators, but it kind of shows that it is not an original developer made map.
The design feels a bit bland and simple. Each wave has you progress further and further into the depths of what appears to be a facility of some sort. In every new location, it feels like a square shaped room with a lot of ninety degree angles. I would progress to the next room and would sometimes be confused whether or not I had actually progressed to a new room. The map is fine and is a nice addition to the game, but it doesn’t feel unique or interesting especially when stacked up against the base maps and even some of the other community made ones. Traps are scattered throughout the map which can be fun to use and can add an additional gameplay element not found in most maps. They also can be activated without spending dosh. It is a fine map in its own right, but there is not much to help it stand out.
DieSector is another story. This map is only available to play in the new Endless mode. The mode is more similar to Call of Duty Zombies where the waves are endless by default, and the map feels similar to a Call of Duty map as well.
As you progress through the waves, new areas are opened up automatically which add more breathing room to the map. These are not massive areas such as those in some of the Zombies maps from Call of Duty, but more like new rooms added to the map.
There are also purchasable traps which can set zombies on fire as they try to kill you. It does feel like Killing Floor’s take on a Call of Duty style map, and it feels great. It definitely fits in alongside the other maps, but it is able to feel different. The aesthetics of the map are also very striking with a lot of white and neon lighting. It looks a bit too similar to the Biotics Lab which is a bit unfortunate, but it is still a great addition to the rotation of maps in the game. The map manages to feel tight, but with enough room and connecting lanes to maneuver trains of zombies around without getting cornered too easily. I have spent a couple hours playing on the map and feel like I am just now starting to get a better idea of the layout and which strategies I can use for the map.
The endless game mode is a great addition to the game. I am personally a fan of the 4, 7, or 10 wave structure that the game has in place, but it is nice to play wave after wave and see how long you can survive. It definitely feels more akin to Gears of War’s horde mode or Call of Duty’s zombies mode where the normal zombies and bosses progressively get harder to deal with. This isn’t to the same level of severity in Call of Duty where the zombies can eventually take dozens of bullets before going down, but there does seem to be a difficulty increase as you progress through the waves. If you begin the game on Normal difficulty, the game will begin to increase the difficulty all the way up to Hell on Earth. If you begin playing on Hell on Earth (which I have not even bothered trying), it will be daunting from the very beginning and only get worse from there.
The Endless Mode is a great challenge that can really shake up the formula of Killing Floor 2. My only problem with the mode is that I would have liked to not have boss battles interspersed with normal zombies. In the normal survival mode, each level ends with a boss battle. Endless Mode has you fight one of the main bosses every five waves. The bosses also become harder to deal with. The level 5 boss goes down much faster than the level 25 boss does, for example. It is nice to face bosses that gradually increase their difficulty, but I think it would be nice to have a mode where there are no bosses to encounter whatsoever. I understand that the bosses are a sort of staple for the game and add a significant obstacle for players to overcome, but I can’t help but wonder how different the game might play if the bosses were to be removed from the mode entirely.
A new playable character named D.A.R has also been added to the game. He was a DLC character in the first Killing Floor but is actually a free piece of content for 2. D.A.R. (or Domestic Assistant Robot) is a character who seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder. Unlike James McAvoy in the movie Split, D.A.R.s different personalities are actually voiced out by different male and female voice actors with varying accents and portrayed levels of sanity.
The standard look of D.A.R. is not too impressive, but his customization options offer more variety in armored appearances. One set of armor is coated in blood while another is plated in gold. These customization options can be seen as a status symbol as the only way to unlock them is by surviving long enough in the endless mode. After completing waves 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25, there will be a new seasonal challenge completed and a customization option will be unlocked for D.A.R. This is a fun and less random way to unlock appearances for the character. A new character is not a significant addition to the game, but I personally find the unlocks tied to D.A.R. to be a fun challenge that can be completed in a few hours of gameplay. A few hours can be a good and bad thing depending on what you are looking for, however. One thing to note, though, is that the seasonal challenges have ended, but you can purchase the appearances with real money if you really want to unlock them.
Before I discuss the new weapons, I want to mention that I have included my thoughts on these weapons before the update went live and when they were in the beta phase. As the beta progressed, updates were added to the game. This saw changes to the weapons and addressed some problems that I had with them. I will discuss what I felt about the weapons initially as well as their final form. Sorry if this next section is a bit jumbled.
There are three new weapons that have been added to the game. The first is the Mac 10 SMG which was voted by the community to be added to the game. This is a submachine gun carried over from Killing Floor 1 which fires incendiary ammo. Because of this, it is a weapon primarily for the Firebug and SWAT perks. I had a great time using the gun, and I found it to be a very effective SMG. As a SWAT, I used the Mac 10 with a Kriss and the Heckler & Koch SMGs to great success. Before the patch, the damage seemed to be on par with these two weapons; however, the damage has been decreased by sixteen percent, the equip speed is forty percent faster, and the total ammo capacity has been increased by twenty percent. The lower damage makes it feel a bit weaker than the Kriss and other heavy hitting weapons, but it is still a blast to use. It can also be a beneficial ranged weapon for the Firebug perk and is also more feasible to use when coupled with the level five skill High Capacity Fuel Tank which increases perk weapons’ magazines by one hundred percent (which will see the Mac 10 having 64 bullets per magazine with a total ammo capacity of 448 rather than the standard 55 per mag and a total capacity of 439). These numbers are not vastly different; so there may need to be some reworking for future updates. Overall, the Mac 10 SMG is a great additional weapon for these two classes.
The next weapon is the Husk Cannon which was also included in Killing Floor 1. This is probably my least favorite weapon of the three. Visually, the weapon is appealing as the design looks different from the other weapons as it is a weapon where you slide your arm into the launcher. It is sort of like your own Metroid style launcher. The weapon itself is a little too easy to use, in my opinion. Before the update, the base weapon had twenty-five projectiles (which can be increased to fifty if you use the level five Firebug perk). The weapon is a bit hard to describe, but I would say that it is a mix between the auto shotgun, the RPG, and the Spitfire pistol. You can rapidly shoot explosive, incendiary shells at the zombies or charge up the gun to fire a more powerful shot with a wider explosive and fiery radius. If you charge the launcher, you consume four bullets within the first couple seconds before ticking down toward zero as you continue to hold the fire button. I personally found the weapon to be a viable shotgun as I could hipfire the weapon and quickly tap the fire button. This allowed me to fire shot after shot of explosive, incendiary rounds at zombies. I was able to cut through most zeds with ease and little difficulty even on a solo Suicidal map. The weapon was very effective, but it was almost too effective. After the update, however, the weapon’s equip speed is now 40% faster, the magazine size is reduced by 25% (the Demolitionist having 20 per clip and 283 total ammo capacity and the Firebug with the level 5 perk now having 40 in the mag and 300 total), the fire rate has been decreased by 110%, the total ammo capacity is reduced by 13%, and the ammo pickup amount has been increased by 25%. The slower rate of fire helps to balance the weapon out, but, in my opinion, it still feels a bit too powerful. One thing that helps to balance the Husk Cannon out is the fact that you can severely injure yourself if you are not careful. As a Demolitionist, you can catch yourself on fire if you shoot at a zombie that is too close. On the flip side, you can hurt yourself with explosive damage if your shots go off too close to you as a Firebug. You can still hurt yourself with either fire or explosions as either perk. I think that this update is a great first step toward balancing the weapon, but I feel that more changes may need to be made to the weapon in order to perfect it.
And, lastly, the Gunslinger has a new pistol with the addition of the AF2011-A1 which is literally two M1911s slapped together. This gun was so fun to use. There are sixteen bullets per mag, but both barrels shoot at the same time causing each trigger press to consume two bullets. I found the gun to function great at mid range and up close. If you are shooting ranged targets with this weapon, you will have to pace your shots and not fire in rapid succession as the recoil will mess up your accuracy. The weapon can still be effective to use at range (but very challenging). At close range, however, you can quickly pull the trigger and use it as a faux shotgun. The time it takes to reload is also fairly short and allows you to go back to firing it faster than some of the other Gunslinger pistols. There’s a trade off between reload speed and bullets per mag when you choose which weapon to purchase because of this. With the update, the pistol has had its fire rate fixed as well as its penetration value fixed. It feels that the gun still fires fast, but there is a delay sometimes between shots. It also felt harder to get collateral kills. Thankfully the update did not disservice the 2011, and it was still a blast to use. The pistol is great coupled with some of the other stronger pistols for the Gunslinger perk. Also keep in mind that you can dual wield this pistol like you can with a majority of the other pistols.
An update has also increased the range of the Zweihander by twenty percent, increased the damage of the Hemogoblin by fifty percent, as well as adjusted some dud round stats for the Seeker Six missile in favor of increasing its power. If you felt that the Hemogoblin was underpowered, then you will definitely want to try it out again. It feels like a more viable Medic pick now.
There have also been some other random changes added to the game. Along with a plethora of bug fixes, a new “SKIP TRADER” button has been added to the pause menu which will allow you to shorten the countdown to five seconds in between waves. This is great for matches where you are already kitted out as well as for the new Endless mode. I would like to see this function be bound to a key to make the process even faster. Another change has been made to the zombie types which has seen the King Alpha Clot be replaced by the new Rioter zombie. This zombie sports armor covering his head and torso, but his legs are left vulnerable. He will encourage other zombies to sprint toward you; so shooting him first may be a viable strategy. It is a cool addition, but I find him to be a tame opponent when paired with the other more intimidating zombies in the game.
Krampus’s Lair featured Stand Your Ground objectives which required you to keep zombies out of specified zones that would randomly appear on the map. This feature will now begin to appear on other maps as well. You will gain bonus dosh if you can keep the zeds out of these zones. I found the risk versus reward to not be that great; so I find myself ignoring these optional side missions as I usually do not require extra dosh. Defending these objectives are also insanely risky on the harder difficulties. Any dosh that you may earn from the defense will most likely just have to be thrown into covering the expense of the armor and bullets that you lost from putting yourself at risk. Maybe this is more worthwhile in multiplayer? Speaking of dosh, vault dosh can be earned from any killed zombie now.
The Spring Update seems very promising so far. The Endless mode will cause players to change up their strategies and have longer games to try, and the newly added challenges helped players have new items to work toward. The update has brought a lot of new and entertaining features to the zombie slaying game, and I can’t wait to see what is next for the game (such as the new weapons and prestige system that have been teased).